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Massapequa Plays Patriot Games

At a time when the world seems embroiled in conflict and chaos, and newspaper headlines spout off one horrible occurrence after another, one local resident is doing his best to unify his fellow Americans and give them cause to hope.

Noted Massapequa Park independent filmmaker and film historian John Carpenter recently hosted a screening of World War 2 Musical The Fleet’s In at Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The reason? According to the gentleman popularly dubbed as “The Movie Man,” it’s because people need to be reminded of a kinder and simpler time.

“At this time in life, we’re going through a lot of negativity, a time where we’re not one as a people,” he said. “This film illustrates and gives you the feeling of how we were once before...it really shows what we were as American citizens who are for our fighting forces, the ones who gave up their lives and their limbs for this country and our freedoms.”

Originally released in 1942, The Fleet’s In is a lively musical starring Dorothy Lamour and William Holden and the plot involves a bashful Navy seaman’s attempts to woo a beautiful singer, and the wagering placed by his shipmates regarding his ability to pull it off.

The screening, attended by a pack audience of people out to enjoy an old-fashioned evening at the movies, kicked off with the singing of the National Anthem, followed by a speech on patriotism by a special guest- Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa), who

“I was invited here by John Carpenter, who I met a few months ago in East Meadow when he was showing another one of his movies,” he said. “He’s someone that I’ve come to know a lot about in the past few months, and frankly, the more you get to know about him, the more inspired you are by his own personal story and the movies he creates...I think he’s doing a real service to the community.”

One person who turned out to watch the screening of The Fleet’s In was Anthony Di Marino of Massapequa Park, who has turned into a big fan of Carpenter and his work in a short amount of time.

“I got to know John through the church, and I’ve already gone to see a few of his movies, and they’re very good,” he said. “He’s a good man.”

Joe Masiello was also on-hand at Our Lady of Lourdes that evening, and said that he never misses any event that carpenter that puts on.

“I’ve seen some of John’s shows, and I really enjoy them,” he said. “I love the old movies, I really do...both the old movies John shows, and the ones he makes himself, which really recall a bygone era.”

Carpenter, who overcame a horrific injuries when he was hit by a car in 1999 and fought back to embrace his life’s passion - making and showing films — said that he endeavors to screen movies such as this for the public in order to give contemporary audiences a glimpse into a bygone era; one that he said was far more personal and community-driven.

“The reason why I do these show is to recreate the neighborhood movie house feeling,” he said. “To bring together the residents, because as of now, people are not bonded; but these films and my charismatic way of educating people on the history of them enable them to laugh, cry, and thrill together...it unifies them as one, just like movies used to do.”